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If Bernie Loses @ShaunKing @KillerMike @CornelWest and Too Many Others

April 5, 2016
001_what_you_do

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

If your chosen candidate loses, which the delegate math seems is most likely to happen, you’re going to owe a lot of people an apology.

Not your fellow Bernie supporters for not winning. I mean, OK you could do that, but a candidates failures are their own. So yeah, don’t apologize for that.

Rather examine the overt, relentless, glaring racism and sexism flowing through your social media in support of Bernie Sanders. Now examine the fact that you’ve not only let it ride, you’ve perpetuated or created some of it. And if you’re not ashamed, examine it again because you should be.

You’re not allowed to be anti-racist leaders or “woke” Black leaders speakers of the truth or teachers of the facts or leaders, or speakers or teachers  at all if you aren’t willing to fucking lead, fucking speak, fucking teach. Which maybe lets Killer Mike off the hook because I don’t know that being a “leader” or a “speaker” or a “teacher” is so much your thing as opposed to being an entertainer. So fine, but you’ve still got to answer for the patently false, deeply sexist characterization of what Ms. Willaford and Ms. Johnson did in Seattle. Let me count the ways:

  • They are not “little girls,” they are women.
  • Senator Sanders did not give, hand, or in any way welcome them to the stage.
  • They took the stage and held it in conjunction with white accomplices.
  • Those white accomplices were necessary to protect them from the largely white crowd who, among other things, were calling for them to be attacked and tazed.
  • Senator Sanders stood there while those calls happened and said nothing.
  • After Senator Sanders rage quit the crowd got even more unruly and those white accomplices were necessary to keep his fans from physically accosting those two Black women.

No matter how hard you try you can’t whitewash the facts and since this happened in August, since you have some store of funds and fame and and I can only presume a cellular device of some kind, you could have put forward the least amount of effort and fact checked that shit before speaking. You lessened their agency and denied their victory in service to a white man who can barely speak two sentences about Blackness before he pivots back to whiteness or colorblindness which is still whiteness.

You should be ashamed and you you owe a lot of people an apology, not the least of which being Ms. Willaford and Ms. Johnson.

And you Shaun, oh Shaun. I used to like you. You’ve spent an inordinate amount of time defending your place and your voice as a defender and spokesperson for Black people and the value of our lives. You’ve also spent a not small amount of time highlighting the threats of violence ad death that you and your family have been subject to. Your failure in this case, your, deliberate failure to address and act against the relentless sexist and racist commentary coming from fellow Sanders supporters on your feeds. This is not stuff you missed. These are people you interacted with and responded to and let slide because you value their support of your political candidate more than respect for women or Black people.

You consistently place your support of a white male politician over that of Black people and women and, you know, Black women.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

That shame should make you stop.

You should reassess and change your behavior.

You won’t. You’re already attempting to pivot away from possibly voting for Clinton and encouraging people to do the same in an effort to build another party. Which, of course you are. Of. Course. You. Are. You are well off and educated and assimilated and you will be the good Black man to protect what you have. I don’t actually begrudge you that. It’s a choice people make to protect themselves and their families. Fine.

Other people, the people you’ve been allowing your followers to belittle and degrade for months? We will suffer to a far greater degree than you will. Those of us on the intersections? We will die.

But why should you care at all about that? Well, there are a lot of reasons that you already know. The issue is that you don’t appear to care. And let’s not ignore the fact that, you’re maneuvering for a high placed position in whatever that party turns out to be.

Yep. I said it. It’s true and we all know it. If you don’t like it, then change it.

Personally, I think both Democratic candidates are pretty much equally worthless. But as an activist, I am an adult who recognizes that great harm is worse than very little good. That’s how adults work.

Learn this. Do better or please be quiet, because you are making a lot of noise and taking up a lot of space that should be filled by people who are actually invested in fostering social justice rather than helping themselves.

All three of you, and all of the other people reading this who are equally guilty of this shit need to do better. Start right now.

 

Kind of Valentine 2016

February 14, 2016

We’ve reached the time when it’s harder for me to describe what I love about A~ becaause all of the things that I’ve written about in the years past are still true. A~ is awesome. Also, I love her which is why, going on 20 years in, we’re still together.

She is woke as fuck but I don’t want to write a post about how my white girlfriend is down for Black lives because of course she is.

And we’re both nerdy and like nerd things; although not the exact same nerd things because that would be dull.

There are a lot of ways I could explain how our love is special but then I realizedthere is nothing particularly special about us or our love except that it is ours and we’ve made it last.

That’s ewhat makes it the most remarkable thing of all. So, as ever, love you A-. Happy Contrived Romance Day. I love you all the other days of the year just as much.

 

These are our lives. It's awesome.

These are our lives. It’s awesome.

On Paragons and Pedophiles

January 11, 2016

David Bowie was a rapist.

This is just a fact. Deal with it.

He had intercourse with multiple children.

A child cannot consent.

He knew these girls were children.

A child cannot consent.

These are simply facts.

David Bowie was also a musical genius whom many of my readers may have loved.

These two things exist at the same time and about the same person.

And that, people, is what we call duality.

Billy Cosby is a rapist.

He drugged women and had intercourse with them.

A drugged person cannot consent.

He knew they were drugged.

HE drugged them.

These are also facts.

Bill Cosby is also a comedic titan who was the creator of some of the most beloved and influential TV shows ever.

You can appreciate, hell even love, someone’s art and performance without cosigning every single aspect of their lives.

It’s OK to be sad that Bowie died. It’s OK to still like the Cosby show. You are not a bad person for recognizing the duality of art versus artist.

It’s OK to watch the Cosby Show because Cliff Huxtable is a fiction character who, one can only hope, isn’t a rapist.

If you can’t watch the show anymore that’s OK too.

It’s OK to love Bowie’s music because the Thin White Duke and Ziggy and pretty much every persona he put on including David Bowie were fiction characters.

That’s how performance works sometimes.

Duality.

That said, if your love of either man’s art extends to ignoring, excusing or attempting to mitigate their rapes then you have a problem.

Yes I said rapes.

Can we please not pretend that David Bowie in the 1970s only went after that one child?

There was a whole movie made about the so-called “baby groupies,” (fucking plural) of that era and it was informed by the lives of several women.

Many of them slept with him and, while we’re at it, pretty much every other singer/band that you love from the era. So Zeppelin fans, don’t get smug. Deep Purple fans? Take a knee. Every other fan of every popular band of the era? Stifle. Rapists. Deal with it.

Led Zep Groupies

All of the girls in this picture are children.

I don’t want to hear about how times were different. Because honestly? You’re excusing rape and if you want to do that you should really stop and look at yourself in abject horror and shame.

I don’t want to hear about how the women that Cosby raped should have done something to not get raped. Because once again, you are defending/excusing/apologizing for a rapist and if you are not ashamed of yourself there is no help for you.

And there is something ot be said for the racial double standard in regards to rape by famous people but someone else has already said it and done so better than I would so go read that.

Instead of posting meandering, illogical excuses pretty much anywhere take a moment to recognize the duality of humans.

Whatever good an artist may do for you through their art does not negate the harm they may have done as a person. These two things must exist at the same tie withing the same space in your mind or you are simply deifying a fictional character.

Sometimes we love art made by problematic artists. I would venture to say MOST times we love art by problematic artists. Because artists are humans and humans, more often than not, do something fucked up to some other person or group. It doesn’t matter why they do it. It could be through malice or ignorance or the systemic, grinding cultural paradigm. It really doesn’t matter.  The fact that all humans are flawed does not negate the feelings we have about their art. I really wish we, as a culture, could get over the idea that our idols must be paragons and that death somehow transformed a flawed human into a perfect memory.

 

Never Forget? The Things You Really Need to Remember

September 11, 2015

I reblog this every year.And this year I’m going to add one more thing that we should all remember.

Americans are being targeted right now by extremists in our own country. An elderly Sikh man was beaten yesterday while his attackers hurled anti-Muslim slurs at him.

Black Americans are being hunted by the law enforcement officers who are supposed to protect us.

Female Americans are being hunted by pretty much whoever the fuck feels like it.

While you’re busy posting about 9/11 keep in mind that we are a long way from right in this country a lot of the time and a not small number of our citizens are living under the constant threat of terrorist violence, not from ISIS or some other Muslim extremist group but from the religious right, from men, from straight people, from white people, from the police every fucking day.

Never fucking forget.

So everyone knows what today is. Everyone knows that a bunch of people died due to extremism and today everyone is going to bombarded with two things; idiotic “Never Forget,” signs, images, bumper stickers and what not; as well as multiple television shows and movies attempting to re-traumatize the public for cash.

And all we’re going to be told today is that we should never forget. Yeah…thanks. I needed that reminder because the image of two people holding hands as they leapt to their deaths from the higher floors of the North Tower, so as to have some human contact in their last moments on earth, was going to go away any time soon; just,you know, pop right out of my head.

You know what we shouldn’t forget?

We shouldn’t forget that there were actually four planes that crashed that day. One took out a building full of soldiers. One crashed in a field after it was retaken by the passengers. The two others hit two buildings full of people.

Why do so many people focus on the building full of victims rather that the building full of soldiers or a plane full of ordinary Americans who stepped up when it was necessary and made themselves heroes? I think we should never forget the other two planes that crashed.

Guess what else we shouldn’t forget?

The terrorist attack on September 11th wasn’t random. It was the result of two things; religious extremism and global politics.

Notice that I didn’t say Muslim extremism. Yes, the people who attacked the U.S. were Muslims but that is peripheral. Religious extremism isn’t exclusive to Islam as evidenced by the idiot reactions to Park 51.

As a result of the religious extremism that led to the attack on September 11th we, the United States have responded with a level of extremism that makes no logical sense and is, in fact, pathetic and sad.

Somehow, in our strong, tough response to terrorism we’ve embraced the very worst traits of those people who attacked us and shown that what we as a nation mean by strong and tough is actually acting in the most cowardly, counter-Constitutional way possible.

Never forget that repeating the same mistakes are going to lead to the same result. Yes, Mr. President, I am looking at you right now.

Never forget that in the days after September 11th people who looked like they might be Muslims were attacked and in some cases were killed.

Never forget that fear and panic are exactly the reactions that the people flying those planes on September 11th wanted.

Never forget that religious extremism is what is happening right now in the United States. Go to any right leaning website and do a search for the word Muslim. You’ll see what I mean.

Never forget that September 11th is the event that led our nation into signing away our civil rights in the form of the Patriot Act.

Never forget that September 11th is the event led directly to a war we never should have fought in which 4400 American service men and women gave their lives and countless civilians died.

Never forget that the U.S. tortured people.

Never forget that part of the reason that the U.S. was targeted was our own actions and our subsequent inaction. That doesn’t, in any way, justify the actions of the terrorists but it’s something that we need to cop to.

Never forget that the U.S. has been selectively meddling in the Middle East for decades and doing so with little regard for the wishes of those in the region or the sovereignty of the nations therein.

Never forget that the events of September 11th are far more nuanced and complex than any t-shirt or very special episode can possibly cover.

Never forget that terrorism in America is overwhelmingly domestic and Caucasian.

You want to memorialize September 11th? Remember that real patriots respect Islam. Remember pluralism, the concept that two or three or thirty-seven, divergent ideas can and must exist in the same nation at the same time and each be equally respected. Remember that we the people have a responsibility to the nation and the Constitution to stand up for our fellow Americans, no matter what religion or nation of origin.

Remember that. While you’re at it, remember that all of the memorials that are showing on TV are happening for profit and all the memorials that are happening in the media are too.

Remember, that grieving is a process and if you are still in the exact same mental and emotional place, wherein you are afraid to leave the house on this day and you cry and cry all day long, you should probably go talk to a professional because you are kind of stuck on step one.

Remember, most of all, that if you are one of those people who are reliving every moment of the attacks on social media or in person you are very likely triggering the shit out of someone else. Also, you’re being really ghoulish. Stop it.

Then remember this:

Real Patriots

Ally Basic Training Supplement: You Will Make Mistakes #BlackTransLiberationTuesday

August 25, 2015

Ally Basic Training

BlackTransLives

On this day when we honor specifically Black Trans Lives, I want to make a point that very few people will make to you.

You’re gonna fuck up.

You will fail to be a good ally.

It’s going to happen.

Don’t believe me? Watch this.

Day of the Dead

That’s me appropriating the fuck out of a culture that is not mine and thinking I look extra cute while doing so.Take that shit in. This is what I do! This is my wheelhouse and wow did I fuck that up in a major way.

And that’s not the last time I did so.

I’ve written in the past about my use of the most offensive trans slur. And how it was wrong. But even that blog post is a problem because aside from a bunch of stuff about Perez Hilton and Azelia Banks it’s mostly about me and my feelings and not, you know the people I hurt with my abject stupidity.

It should not have been about me.

It should not have been about me.

It should not have been about me.

It should have been about my trans friends.

It should have been about the pain I caused them with my stupidity.

As an ally, my entire job in the moments when I fuck up is to not center my feelings but to center the feelings of the marginalized. Guess what I didn’t do. Yep, I made a mistake and you will do the same. You’ll trip yourself up on your privilege or the training we all have to push aside the value and basic humanity of the marginalized. And when that is pointed out to you, you will get all up in your feelings just like I did.

That is wrong. Don’t do that.

Return to Step 1. If you’re making it about you and your feelings then you are failing to listen to other human beings, you’re failing to acknowledge that you and your feelings are what a system that marginalizes other humans wants you to do, you’re being an ass, you’re failing to center the marginalized, and you’re failing to earn yourself any trust.

You’re failing all of the steps that I have spent time and effort outlining for you. Fix that.

Black trans women are being slaughtered and too few people care. Too few people raise up their voices. Too few people say their names.

Jasmine Collins

Tamara Dominguez

Elisha Walker

Kandis Capri

Ashton O’Hara

Shade Schuler

Amber Monroe

K.C. Haggard

India Clarke

Mercedes Williamson

London Chanel

Kristina Gomez Reinwald

Penny Proud

Taja Gabrielle DeJesus

Yazmin Vash Payne

Ty Underwood

Lamia Beard

Lamar “Papi” Edwards

Bri Golec

Make this about them. Think about them. Say their names. Care that their lives have ended and join with them to value them. Seek out trans voices and listen to them. Seek out trans people and be led by them. Do better. Be better. You keep doing the work and so will I.

Ally Basic Training Part 4: Trust

August 20, 2015

Ally Basic Training

Don’t demand it.

Don’t expect it right away.

Don’t complain that you don’t have it.

Earn it.

We’ve been fooled too many times before.

Part of your privilege is your ability to check out and go ghost whenever you feel like it.

We’ve seen that happen all too often as well.

A number of people I know have lately taken to informing everyone who is already allowed on their social media as well as anyone interested in joining that they have rules for who they will friend or follow or whatever.

It basically goes like this “If you’re white and I don’t know you personally from back in the day I’m checking you out before I accept a connection. If I have to scroll more than three time to find something Black Lives Matter related walk on.”

On their own feeds, that belong to them, wherein they get to make decisions and decide who they interact with.

In reaction people are losing their shit.

Losing. Their. Shit.

And making all of the excuses.

“But if I post about BLM my friends will get angry at me. I don’t want to make my white friends and family angry.”

OK then. That’s where you check out. Keeping peace on Facebook is more valuable to you than Black Lives. Got it. You do you. It’s your life. You make decisions for yourself and your interactions. I am not judging.

OK that’s a lie. I am totally judging, but I don’t care enough to read you for it. You do you. Just do you over there. Because we are busy trying not to die.

Also, we aren’t going to trust you that far because, you know, you’re not even willing to risk a dust up on your Twitter feed while we are out here fighting for our lives.

“But I have real life friends and I can’t talk about this to them because reasons.” Yeah. I don’t care about your reasons. And I don’t trust you because you care more about that friendship than our lives. Cool. Oh wait, not at all cool. That one. The second one.

That’s where you check out. You’re fine interacting on your social media page but confronting someone on their racism in real life is a step too far? No trust then. Because you’re proving you aren’t willing to do the work to earn trust.

I’m not saying that you have to be lying in the street at every die in and confronting cops in riot gear every weekend. I’m saying that we are in a state of constant mourning and we are never allowed to finish the process because there is always a new name, a new story, a new brutality for us to learn.

As I type this right this second, the police in St. Louis are attacking peaceful protesters. People are dying out there. I don’t have time for your virtual friends or your family and their feelings. And I don’t trust that you will value the next piece of state violence, the next set of official lies, the next death more than your temporary peace.

Prove me wrong.

Ally Basic Training Part 3: Center

August 16, 2015

Ally Basic Training

 

Center: anyone but yourself.

Center: anything but your own feelings.

Center: anything but your own safety and comfort.

What do I mean by centering others? Google works for everyone. go look up terms on your own time.

DO NOT: Pivot away for the marginalized to your own shit.

For example, today one of the people I know on the internet shared the story of Charnesia Corey, who was raped by a group of Texas police officers after the white male officer who stopped her claimed he smelt weed in her car. After searching the entirety of her car and finding nothing, he called in a female officer to perform a cavity search of Ms. Corey in a public parking lot.

The police department is claimed for a while that they did, in fact, find .02oz of pot in Ms. Corey’s vagina. Either that police officer has mutant powers and needs to join the X-Men or the police were lying.

Oh look, the fact that they have dropped the charges against Ms. Corey indicates the police were lying.

Either way, the reaction to this from people with functional souls has been outrage on behalf of Ms. Corey and anger that another Black woman was violated by authority figures for their entertainment.

And then there’s the White Feminist/Dec-entering reaction?

 Please people, understand that the War on Drugs and the criminalization of cannabis creates a reason for law enforcement to act like this. I’m sure this isn’t the first time and it likely won’t be the last. Take a stand.

See that? Don’t do that.

Don’t take a story that is about a Black woman being violated by a white cop who lied about finding weed in her vagina and make it about the weed. That’s horrible.

 

Bernie at Gettysburg

 

Bernie Sanders went to Gettysburg, the largest Civil War cemetery in the country, and talked about economics. Not slavery, not the history of racial injustice in America, not the value of Black lives. Fucking economics. That is also horrible and it is a prime example of everything wrong with the white liberal thought process today.

Stop it. Stop it. Stop it right the fuck now. Stop it forever.

I get that part of this is training; for White Women™ especially. When someone talks abut their pain, you talk about your pain and that shows you are the same.

But we aren’t the same because your whiteness protects you. Also, stop it forever. That’s how privilege works. It protects you from the consequences and the pain that we have to face. We are not the same.

In your daily life examine whose words you are using, what posts you are sharing, what books and media you recommend. Are the voices you are raising up white when the subject is racism or #BlackLivesMatter? Are they straight when the subject is Gender and Sexual Minority rights? Are they female when the subject is misogyny? Are the feminist voices you are supporting intersectional? Or are you only posting the kinds of voices that don’t need your signal boost?

And I’m going to admit that part of this is personal. So if you call sour grapes I’m not going to pretend that isn’t a factor. A~ and I both blog about the issues of Social Justice and because we talk to each other, our posts sometimes parallel each other. So sometimes we end up posting similar things around the same time. Yet her stuff, which comes from the place of a white ally, is shared by our mutual friends significantly more often than my stuff which come from the place of Blackness. that is annoying on a personal level, but far more importantly it is problematic in terms of allyship.

If you find yourself reaching for white translations of Black voices you need to go back to Step 1.

The same thing happens in a larger sense with authors like Tim Wise, who I will admit is a good writer, but is really in love with the sound of his own voice to the point where he actively takes up space that could be occupied by Black voices that come out of actual Black people.  People post his things like they are gospel while ignoring the huge number of Black voices that they could be boosting. Those same people, and innumerable others, post think pieces by white people about Black issues which are centered on whiteness and the white viewpoint as if they are insights into “the Black mind,” or “the Black plight.”

Make no mistake, that’s just more racism. These authors are too busy trying to speak for us that they can’t listen to us.

That’s a problem.

In talking about this, A~ decided to challenge herself and others to post only the voices of Black people and other marginalized groups for one 24 hour period on all of their social media platforms.

All of them failed, including A~.

You all need to get better at this.

Don’t just listen, memorize, repeat and credit the originator of the thoughts.

Don’t just read, recommend.

Don’t just like, share.

And don’t look to Black people to tell you what you should be reading, who you should be listening to, and who you should be following on social media.

Google works for everyone. Look it the fuck up. Don’t ask us to do this work for you. We’re busy trying not to die.

 

 

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